April 26, 2021
Plenty to share this month to keep you up to date on the ministry here in Bénin. Starting with greetings from Pastor Isaac and Banya our Bible translators. These men have been faithfully translating God’s Word and discipleship materials for many years. Our Old Testament project is coming along nicely. Only a few chapters of Ezekiel are left to compete the entire first draft. Much of the project has been checked and we will soon move into editing and formatting for print. Every project we have taken on in African has fallen behind schedule and this is no exception but we are entering the home stretch!
Also this month:
- In our recent prayer letter we mentioned Haissa’s new faith and the strong, violent reaction of her father. Church leaders recommended, as a minor, that she abstain from Sunday attendance but continue spending time with church families for discipleship. We pray that she will remain strong in her faith and grow in her relationship to the Lord.
- It has been a month of dealing with thieves. The arrival of cotton money brings an increase in thievery. An attempt was made to break into the Marshalls home (while in Guéné) while they were sleeping! Separately, a man was caught by the night guard trying to make off with Joe’s cattle. Pray for continued safety and for wisdom in dealing with thieves. We have increased our vigilance and set up a camera to film the next intruder, should there be one.
- Hot season has begun, energy levels drop off, see photos below… Unfortunately it has also been a month of low-grade fevers, achy bodies, sore throats, upset stomachs and about everything else you can imagine. We think we are on the recovery end of things but still working through some nagging symptoms.
- We had a very successful translation consultation with Joshua Hedges covering more than twice the material in Job expected over the course of his two weeks with us. Joshua delivered a copy of the Gospel of Mark film in Dendi. This was produced from our recent recordings of the NT with Faith Comes by Hearing. We began immediately projecting the film in our village churches. It was a great addition to our Resurrection Sunday celebrations.
- A highlight has been teaching a once a week (10 week) course on marriage and the family to a group of couples-to-be and newly weds. This is a core subject for the Bible Institute and a requirement for all ministry staff.
- We are currently negotiating to complete the purchase of a 60 acre property east of Guene for the vocational training program. Joe Marshall sees the potential for reaching two Fulani settlements with the gospel through this project that will focus on creating grasslands out of scrubland and revolutionize the nomadic grazing habits of local herders that create so much conflict and violence in our region.
- We are still awaiting the result of our application to renew our mission authorization. The process is agonizingly slow and was put on hold for elections. Continue praying that authorization will be granted soon so that we can proceed with matters related to the clinic and educational ministries.
- Also on hold are the Marshalls applications for residency here in Benin. Elections essentially shut down immigration for the past month. Pray that when things open up again they will be able to successfully apply for visas and residency permits.
- Elections occurred April 11. Voter turnout was low as most boycotted the process contending that essentially only 1 party was represented on the ballot. Opposition candidates were detained, disqualified or exiled. Rioting occurred in the central regions of the country but the northernmost districts where we primarily operate remain peaceful.
- We were elated to hear the news of a special offering taken by Faith Baptist Church in Winter Haven Florida for the elementary school project. We now move confidently into the construction of our school building and housing with the project fully funded!